Facebook Expected To Begin Offering Stock For First Time

Posted February 1st, 2012 at 12:40 am (UTC-5)
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Financial news reports say the world’s largest social networking site, Facebook, will seek to raise $5 billion or more when it files the papers Wednesday to offer stock for sale for the first time. The initial public offering is also known as an “I-P-O.”

Each share of stock gives the stock buyer part ownership of the company, and helps the firm raise money to expand, pay down debt, or achieve other goals. Bonds are a different way of raising money, allowing the company to retain full ownership of its business, but that money is a loan that is supposed to be repaid.

The online company is expected to file the complex paperwork for its IPO, on Wednesday. The actual stock sale is likely to come a few months later, and some analysts estimate the company’s overall market value could be as much as $100 billion.

If that turns out to be correct, it would give Facebook a market value larger than corporate giants like Boeing, about the same as McDonalds, but much smaller than Apple computer.

So far, on-line rival Google holds the record for the largest IPO from a U.S. Internet company. In 2004, the search engine powerhouse raised a bit less than $2 billion.

Companies making an IPO usually enlist the aid of an investment bank to help them properly price their stock offering and handle the logistics of selling millions of shares of stock. News accounts say Morgan Stanley is expected to be the lead underwriter for Facebook’s IPO. Such agreements are generally very lucrative for the big banks and major investors.